A/N: Collab between frostedgoddess and itaintpretty.
This is our first d/m multichapter fic so we are very excited! Apologies this chapter is a little long, hopefully you bear with us and we will try to make the rest shorter!
Warnings: this story will contain slash, OC's and angst.
Disclaimer: we don't own Without a Trace or it's characters! (*sigh*)
We hope you enjoy and if you so please do let us know! Reviews and PM's are lovely, so don't be shy!
Martin Fitzgerald hummed softly to himself as the lift pinged sporadically, passing each floor on it's way to the one he worked on. For the first time in weeks he had slept, really slept, and this left him feeling satisfiably refreshed. When the lift stopped and the doors opened at Missing Person's, he got out and strolled to his desk, still humming under his breath.
"Someone's in a good mood today!" Samantha exclaimed, watching her co-worker, who was currently whistling with an amused smile as he spun in his desk chair.
"What's not be excited about? No one has been missing for almost 12 hours. I got to sleep in!" Martin replied happily, though when he glanced over at Danny's empty desk his heart dropped like a stone. He sighed, but Sam-thankfully-didn't seem notice.
"Sorry to break your streak..." Viv said, coming into the bullpen with a file in her hand. With reluctance, she gestured toward the whiteboard.
A rather attractive man with gold-blonde hair and dark grey eyes smiled down at the agents from his position on the missing persons list.
"Jackson Fort; 32; went missing from his home at roughly 8am this morning," Viv started with the man's circumstances.
"I feel like I know him from somewhere," Sam wondered aloud, tilting her head to the side thoughtfully.
Martin spoke up, only just able to find his voice. "Well you would, he's a gay-rights politician vying for councilship in New York state government. He actually has a decent shot at winning this year."
Sam made a soft "oh," as she made the connection. Viv nodded. Martin shifted in his seat.
Viv continued, "His boyfriend called it in, just a half hour after he was kidnapped. He claimed that he 'just knew' something was wrong."
Samantha and Martin exchanged skeptical glances. "Can anyone confirm that the boyfriend wasn't involved?" Martin asked, suspicious of this 'sixth sense'. In his experience, an inkling such as this one was usually more inclined to be a guilty conscience, rather than a telepathic connection.
"Are we positive something's happened to him?" Sam added. She looked at her two colleagues and shrugged."If he's in the middle of a complicated election, maybe he just bailed."
"Jack thinks we should be treating this as a possible kidnapping, what with the...ehm, controversy surrounding Fort's ideals."
Controversy was a generous term, Martin thought. For the last six months in the run-up to the election, Fort and his opponents had dominated every news channel in the state. The only thing which grabbed newspaper headlines more than his political ventures for gay rights were the personal consequences of these hopes he expressed. His house had been targeted by a group of religious nuts; his tires had been slashed multiple times; his mother had been verbally abused on the street by homophobic jerks for raising a 'faggot' who was 'attempting to tear apart traditional families as God intended.'
It wasn't a few people disputing his proposals, it was groups of people hating him for proposing them in the first place. It wasn't controversy, in Martin's opinion. It was just anger and hatred.
"The beau has an air-tight alibi," Jack spoke from behind Martin's shoulder and Martin moved aside to make space for the senior agent. Jack held up a computer disc."We just got this from a security camera across the street from Fort's apartment."
"And it begins again," Sam muttered as they all headed toward the tech room. She smiled at Martin.
But, this time, Martin didn't smile back.
They were gathered around the MIU technician as he pulled up the security footage.
A man clearly recognizable as Jackson Fort stumbled out of the apartment doors, clearly drunk or high or maybe even both.
Viv tutted. "You'd think a man so centred in the public eye would be a little more discrete."
"Everybody has to let loose sometime," Sam reasoned.
Not that the press or the other politicians would see it like that, Martin supposed. They'd probably just find some way to twist it to say that he was encouraging drunk driving-which would kill innocent families and children, of course-and casual sex, which would obviously lead to everyone having AIDS and all the churches in the world collapsing under the strain of global homosexuality.
Yeah, Martin thought. Seems like just the sort of shit they come out with at those debates.
Turning his attention back to the video, Martin watched as a silver van with dark windows pulled up, jerking slightly as it stopped. Jackson, too plastered to even register what was going on, blinked and stumbled along the pavement with his arms out like he was walking a tightrope. Then without warning, four men dressed from head to toe in black- complete with balaclavas-jumped out and grabbed him, dragging him into the backseat of the van. The snatch was over in a matter of seconds. There was no clear shot of the plates, or of the men's faces.
"That's not much to go on." Sam said, stating the bleeding obvious. Martin nodded in agreement and Viv pursed her lips in distaste.
"Martin, cover the traffic cams and put out an APB." Jack continued without waiting for an answer, "Sam, cover the political group he worked for and Viv, you're with me, we're going to go interview Mr 'I just know'."
"Anything else you need?" Martin asked when Sam left. Jack stared at him for a beat longer than necessary, and Martin felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. But then Jack looked away and Martin could breathe again.
"Just.." Jack didn't finish, but Martin heard the underlying message. Just don't screw anything up.
"Sure thing," Martin said as Jack walked out. He pretended not to notice the pity-glance Viv shot him as she followed her boss out of the room.
"And you're positive the van was in your driveway all night?"
"What, you want me to take a picture?" the angry mexican man on the other end of the line demanded.
Martin pressed his hand against his forehead, rubbing the pain that was beginning to surface there. "Thanks for your help, sir." He hung up and sighed heavily. He hated being condemned to the office.
Of course, he knew why he was being locked away-in case he did something stupid. Jack was sick of Martin's actions making the unit look like crap. Which was rich, really, coming from him. But it was also why Martin took it so seriously.
When Jack Malone said you were being unprofessional, you knew you had a problem.
A problem which Martin had gone to great lengths to solve. He'd taken responsibility for his actions; he'd started attending NA meetings with Danny's encouragement; he was clean. And he'd been doing just about everything humanly possible to prove to Jack he was capable of staying that way; to prove he was capable of being the agent they all wanted-expected- him to be.
Apparently, Jack still wasn't buying it.
Crossing out Mr Garza's name from the list of New York citizens who owned a van matching the one on the CCTV footage, Martin caught sight of a picture pinned to the area around Danny's desk. It was a photograph of the two of them, taken at the Christmas party last year. Danny was wearing a Santa hat; they were both smiling.
Martin sighed again and shook his head. He wished things now could be like they were then. Now, when he caught Danny watching him, he figured it was because his friend- like everyone else- was expecting him to screw up. Back then, he could have convinced himself that all those subtle glances and pondering looks tossed his way were for a very different reason. He wished that Danny was back from visiting some distant relatives way out in Florida, this work would go down a lot easier with a dose of Danny's humour.
Picking up the phone again, Martin began to dial the number belonging to the next name on the list.
"Who's the guy?" Martin asked Sam, catching sight of a man sitting on the chairs outside Jack's office. Viv sat beside him, offering him a paper coffee cup which he took weakly.
"Fort's boyfriend, Sean Maguire," Sam replied, flipping through the records of Fort's main rival politician, Harry Pressler. "I swear, if Pressler paid as much attention to his wife as he does to trashing Fort during debates maybe she wouldn't have acted like a caged animal when I tried to talk to her."
"Tried?" Martin asked, still distracted by the man in the hallway who looked on the verge of tears.
Sam nodded. "I went down to the Town Hall but nobody's talking."
"Can't we make them talk?" Elena-who had only just arrived in work, having been late due to a meeting at her daughter's school-asked.
Martin resisted the urge to grunt sarcastically. It seemed Elena's understanding of the American legal and justice system was not as sparkling as he'd assumed.
"No judge would grant a subpoena without sufficient evidence that Pressler or one of his goons was involved," Sam said. What she didn't say, Martin noticed, was what they were all thinking. No Judge would go against an incredibly influential and well-respected figure like Pressler for the favor of a guy campaigning for the minority.
"Does Jack think the boyfriend is involved?" Martin asked.
Viv-who had left the man to his coffee and his tears and had entered the bullpen and took the seat beside Martin-shook her head. "He wants to be here in case we get any news. He's pretty shaken up by all of this."
"I don't blame him," Martin murmured.
Viv stared at him for a moment, and then she nodded. "Yes, well, he gave Jack a pretty long list of people he knows have it out for Fort, and an even longer list of people who he doesn't know by name for us to track down." She looked back at them, but Martin felt like she was just staring just at him. "Hopefully one of them will have the answers we're looking for."
"Are any of these...enemies likely to talk?" Sam asked, examining the list in question as Jack came out of his office and handed it to her.
"Only the guilty won't talk," Jack said and the others nodded their agreement.
They're all guilty, Martin thought.
Martin was in the photocopying room, doing other incredibly mundane tasks which Jack had placed upon him to keep him safely out of harms way.
On his way back, his heard soft crying. It took him a minute to identify it as coming from the chairs at the end of the hallway. Where Jackson Fort's distraught boyfriend sat, his head in his hands.
For some reason, this made Martin think of Danny.
He shook thoughts of his friend from his mind and slowed down as he approached the man. He looked at the fresh, untouched coffee in his own hand. Obviously, Maguire needed it more than he did.
"Here," Martin said, holding it out as an offering.
The other man looked up, his eyes red from crying. He blinked at Martin, like this sort of open kindness was foreign to him. Martin wondered what his story was.
"You look like you could use a strong cup," Martin explained. Maguire looked from Martin to the coffee again and then took it.
"Thanks," he said quietly.
Martin stole a glance at the bullpen. Jack was nowhere to be seen-he and Elena had gone out to interview some of the other politicians, in the hope Elena's powers of seduction and Jack's gruff demand may be enough to coax them into talking. Vivian was with Van Doren, dealing with the savaging press downstairs. Sam was notifying Jackson's family.
He sat down beside Maguire. "This must be very hard for you."
The other man looked like he'd been up all night, dressed in sweats and a hoodie-the sleeve of which he now used to wipe his eyes. "Do you think he's okay?" He asked, turning to Martin. His green eyes were rimmed with sorrow. "Do you think he's alive?"
This wasn't the first time Martin had fielded a question like this from a victim's family. Still, it didn't make it any easier. "I hope so," he said honestly. "We haven't ruled out the possibility this may be a ransom. If that's the case, the people who took him won't benefit from hurting him."
"And if it's not?"
Martin looked at the floor. "Well, then we're going to do everything in our power to find him."
"Agent Johnson said that the subpoena was rejected by the judge," Maguire said, sniffing. "Is it because he's gay?"
Jack had gone ahead and filled for a subpoena to question and search the other politicians, regardless of how much of a long shot they all knew it was. Within an hour, they'd received an email from Anne Cassidy. I regret to inform you, Jack, it said. That your request was denied.
She hadn't given a reason.
She hadn't needed to.
Martin didn't say anything, suspecting Sean Maguire already knew the answer.
"I hate this," he muttered. "This sitting around, waiting."
"Maybe you should go home," Martin suggested.
Sean Maguire turned to Martin, the fire of someone who had dealt with being left behind before raging in his eyes. "Would you?"
"No," the agent admitted. Then again, that was a very hypothetical situation-he hadn't had a date since Samantha; he had food in his fridge which could last longer than his most serious relationships. Still, if it was a close friend, like Danny, heaven and hell would not be able to keep him from the people who could help bring him back.
"I should have just said I'd go to the stupid dinner with him," Maguire murmured. He shook his head. "I should just have told him I would, goddamit. Like I even give a crap what anybody thinks."
"What dinner?" Martin asked, trying to keep up with Maguire's scattered thoughts.
"This stupid get together all the stuffy old hand-shakers hold every year prior to the final stages of the election. It's supposed to promote unity and show they can all be civil, but it always ends up being an excuse to intimidate each other, under the watchful ear of the sneaky undercover press, of course," Maguire said, his tone bitter and angry.
Martin guessed he didn't fall in love with Fort because of his job.
"And Fort-Uhm, I mean Jackson was invited to this?" Martin asked.
Maguire nodded. "Everybody whose anybody is."
It reminded Martin of the sort of thing his parents would attend. "And Jackson wanted you to come along?"
Maguire nodded, plucking at a loose string on his hoodie. "Yeah. All the other politicians are going with their wives or whatever. It's all for show, you know. But Jackson said he needed the moral support."
"Why is that?" Martin asked, his mind racing with all the ways this dinner could tie into the investigation. "Was Jackson being threatened?"
Maguire blinked at Martin. "Do you live in a hole?" he asked. "Don't you watch TV, read the papers, check the headlines online? People are always threatening Jax."
Martin remembered then-this wasn't an ordinary case. Hatred and threats were at every corner of this guys life.
"Especially from our opposition." Sean continued shakily, "Some of them can get pretty worked up-letters; spraypainting 'fag' across Jackson's car; blowing up our bin; robberies."
"Pressler did this?"
"Not him directly, but I don't think he's completely in the dark about the work that some of his grunts have been up to. It's been getting worse lately because the election is coming up and we actually have a shot this year. Even I've started getting pretty graphic death threats."
"Is that why you didn't want to go?"
Maguire shook his head. "I'm not that naive. I mean, yeah, it makes me uncomfortable, but it's the way things are. They won't ever change."
Martin wondered how much bashing you'd have to endure to become so hopeless.
"No, it's because I knew there'd be tons of reporters there. I knew they'd take photos and stuff and I..." the man let out a long, shaky breath. "I didn't want my family to see me, plastered on the front page of the newspaper, holding the hand of some guy they've never even met."
"Your family don't know you're gay?"
Maguire laughed. "Nah, they know. Me coming out was the most dramatic thing that ever happened to my family." He ran his hand down his face. "It's just...they're not exactly accepting. I mean I think...I think my dad's coming round a bit, but my mom...it's hard, you know? Anyway, I didn't want to push things. I didn't want them to know about my relationship with New York's own Ellen DeGeneres until they'd come to terms with their relationship with me." Then, he shook his head and sighed. "I know it sounds dumb. And now, I wish I could take it back."
A thought struck Martin. "Why weren't you out with Jackson?"
"He said I was questioning our relationship. He said he was working so damn hard to win the election, to get rights for people like us, because he didn't want anyone to feel ashamed anymore. He said he's proud of who he is, and hiding our relationship isn't showing the honesty and acceptance he's trying to promote." Jackson's boyfriend started to cry again. "I called him selfish. I told him he was so blinded by the election that he couldn't see how hard all of this is to actually deal with. The last thing I said to him was that if we couldn't do things at my pace, then we weren't doing them at all."
His words broke off into sobs, and Martin was lost for words. He reached out to pat Sean's back, a reassurance, but then wondered what it would look like to people passing. He hated himself for it, but he was an even bigger coward than Sean was.
"I promise you," Martin found himself saying, the words out of his mouth before he could stop them. "I will do everything I can to find Jackson."
And he meant it.